Sweet Coffee Biscuits

Anita Shell


Leftover biscuits


Black coffee

For each serving, break biscuit in half and cover with sugar.  Pour coffee over the biscuit.

My family has lived in Appalachia since the middle 1700s.  Our lineage extends back to Ulster and the clan MacGregor.  There are many heirloom recipes that have been passed through the generations, and this is probably the most simple.  Eating this dessert-like treat after breakfast is one of my earliest memories of food.  This was in the late 1950s and very early 1960s, before I was old enough to attend school.  My father put lots of sugar on a biscuit and then covered it with black coffee.  I have never heard a family member use a name for this concoction, so I created one for this assignment.

My mother remembers my grandfather making this treat for her when she was a young girl in the middle 1940s.  I questioned this because the timeframe was during World War II when both sugar and coffee were rationed.  But classmate Geraldine Slemp pointed out that many families traded their ration stamps to obtain items they needed.  This makes a great deal of sense because neither of my paternal grandparents drove an automobile and probably received stamps for rationed gasoline they could trade for things they did use.  When I asked my grandmother about trading ration stamps, she said she did it often.  She also told me her father had owned a small café in Johnson City in the 1930s and 1940s and helped supply her family with hard-to-get food items.  Grandma was adopted by relatives and lived in the Shell Creek community of Carter County but believes the name of her birth father’s business was the Jestes Café.

Both my mother and grandmother had large flour bins built into kitchen cabinets, and they held around 50 pounds of flour.  By the time my memories began, it was the late 1950s and things had become more accessible, but this would not have been the case in my mother’s childhood.  Flour was likely one of the contributions of my great-grandfather’s café.

My parents were divorced when I was 10 years old, and I have no further memories of this treat.  Apparently my father’s second wife was unable to make biscuits, and the outcome is just not the same with biscuits from a can.